Acclaimed author Terrance Dean hit Atlanta last week to host a discussion panel on “Young, Black, Gifted & Gay: Powerful Men in the Entertainment Industry and Our Allies in Partnership” at Outwrite Book Store (June 29, 2011).
Panelists included fellow bloggers Drama Dupree and Gyant (GyantUnplugged), Adrian J. Daniel (aka Sir Daniel of Better Days Radio), George Smith (creator of Black Gay reality series “Tha Life”), Lonnell Williams (3LWTV), and Maurice Jamal (Filmaker/Founder Glo-TV).
I was also thrown into the mix to add my take on the situation as a straight woman and it was quite an experience!
Terrance’s first book, Hiding in Hip-Hop: Confessions of a Down-Low Brother in the Entertainment Industry, sparked a ton of controversy last year when everyone speculated about the identity of the “DL” entertainer featured in the book.
Dean moderated the panel discussion as each of the participants shared their experiences…
Each of the members of Dean’s panel was asked to discuss their experiences dealing with Gay men in the entertainment industry. Some spoke of their own personal experiences facing barriers after disclosing their sexual preference, while others spoke of being accepted immediately.
I was posed with the question of (and I’m paraphrasing) “Being that you are around artists quite a bit, have there been times where you KNEW an artist was Gay (but not “Out”) and if so, do you think that artist would ever disclose his sexuality publicly?”
What the hail? 😯
My answer went something like… “yes and no”…. I explained that while there are quite a few artists that are in fact Gay, while their close friends and family may know the truth, I’m not too sure they will EVER come out to the masses.
My logic is that without confirming or denying their sexual preference, the “artist” has the ability to keep both sides intrigued and guessing. Once he (or she) discloses they’re Gay, it isolates the group not chosen.
Just a thought…. *shrug*
J.L. King, ATLien (Michelle Brown), Lonnell Williams
Author J.L. King came through to support dean and the panel. You may remember King from his appearance on The Oprah Show, where he discussed the “Down Low” phenomenon. “On the Down Low: a Journey into the lives of ‘Straight’ Black Men Who Sleep with Men” became an instant best seller when King appeared on Oprah and revealed his own experiences living on the down low. He urged women to choose partners carefully and spoke of the danger wives and girlfriends faced dealing with men who weren’t honest about their sexuality.
Gyant, ATLien, JL King, George Smith
Drama Dupree & ATLien
Terrance Dean and a fan…
In addition to the panel, Dean signed copies of his new book, MOGUL. In MOGUL, the central character is a Hip Hop music producer named Big A.T. ~ a down-low man who is struggling with his sexuality, his desire to come out, and the repercussions of his decision, as well as the family of down-low men in the entertainment industry.
In addition to Mogul, Dean is a contributor to the collection Visible Lives: Three Stories in Tribute to E. Lynn Harris, and is the author of several books including Reclaim Your Power! (A 30 Day Guide to Hope, Healing and Inspiration for Men of Color), Hiding In Hip Hop, and my personal favorite, Straight From Your Gay Best Friend: The Straight-Up Truth About Relationships, Work, and Having a Fabulous Life .